Looking back at David Bowie’s invaluable advice for young artists
David Bowie is one of the most prolific and unadulterated artists in recent memory. Not only through his music, but through everything he did, Bowie—above all else—is as an authentic artist as you’re ever likely to see. In this clip, he passes on some invaluable advice for all those youngsters starting out.
The Starman was never shy about sharing his ideas or his processes with the world. He held the future of art and music as tightly as his own career and often saw it as his duty to help out struggling artists. Whether it was with production like Lou Reed’s Transformer, or indeed getting Iggy back out and on the road—Bowie is always ready to lend a helping hand.
In the interview below, Bowie offers up a very succinct and determined statement of intent for all young artists to follow. It’s a piece of advice that will surely see most people develop their artistic flourish.
Bowie says: “Never play to the gallery… Never work for other people in what you do. Always remember that the reason that you initially started working was that there was something inside yourself that you felt that if you could manifest in some way, you would understand more about yourself and how you co-exist with the rest of society… I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfil other people’s expectations.”
It’s a piece of advice fairly ubiquitous of one of the finest artists to have walked the earth. It’s a sentiment replicated by William S. Burroughs and relayed by Patti Smith, and it is a sentiment at the core of everything David Bowie does. An artist unafraid of challenging or changing himself, Bowie put risk-taking at the centre of his output.
The importance of which he reiterates again in the clip: “The other thing I would say, is that if you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you are capable of being in.
“Go a little bit out of your depth. When you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”
Watch below the full interview which sees David Bowie offering advice to young aspiring artists.